Galencia (C64)

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Summary

A wonderful homage to Galaga that contains numerous game elements to make a good game in its own right.

Overall
84%
84%
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User Review
3.75 (8 votes)

The single screen shooter game Galaga is considered to be one of the iconic arcade games from the early 80s classic gaming genre which, upon it initial release, pushed Space Invaders aside as gamers became enthralled with its bright graphics and sophisticated enemy movement behaviour. 

Galaga has been ported across to a wide number of gaming systems but the official C64 adaptation would ultimately disappoint gamers with the use of two tone petscii graphics and gameplay patterns that fail to hold your attention beyond its first few levels. There were a number of other attempted tributes to Galaga on the C64 but none of them were quite able to capture the game play that makes Galaga a timeless classic. Protovision and the development team headed by Jason Aldred look to rectify this situation with the release of Galencia in 2017.

The backstory to Galencia is that the Earth’s population of bees are protected by The Guardians (giant queen bees) and they have returned to exterminate the human population for damaging the environment to the extent that the bees are at extreme risk of extinction. 

Loading the intro to Galencia, I started to have reservations about what the game had in store due to its bee inspired back story but I literally had my breath taken away when I first saw the launch preparation sequence screen where Ace walks across the launch platform to his ship. The presentation here with its detailed graphics, bright colours and dramatic vibe told me that to put aside my pre-conceived notions that this would be a game that I would forget about tomorrow.

The quality of the game instantly hits you as you start to take on the first level enemies. The main character ship and the enemies are drawn in large colourful detail. The sounds coming from the enemies and your bullets have a rich ’fullness’ to them and the movement of the enemy ships are smooth and non-linear. 

The sophistication of the enemy patterns and strategy is what makes Galencia a compelling play. The enemy patterns start off being fairly benign, placing the gamer under a false pretence that this will be an easy game to finish, when all of a sudden the enemies start making little deft moves that seem to hone into your ship just as you think you in a safe position. The enemy patterns and movement get more aggressive as you progress through the levels and you will often finding yourself having to quickly manoeuvre your ship out of the way as an enemy instigates a curving downward attack in an attempt to smash into you.

The game can irritate due to the colour of enemy bullets blending in with the green stars within the backdrop making them a little hard to see. There is a setting that allows you to change the colours but I did not think it irradiated the issue.

The game does tend to repeat the same enemy types throughout the game, albeit they do become more aggressive and sophisticated with their attack moves. Greater variation would have certainly elevated the game. But to fair, the game does exhibit an addictive quality to its gameplay and its learning curve is set in the perfect spot to encourage you to keep on having another go. Given the genre, Jason Aldred certainly has made the most of a single screen shooter game and presented it very well.

To help break things up, Galencia features two boss battles and a number of challenge stages that will provide you with rewards for 100% enemy clearance in one variant and the ability to collect 10,000 point starts while navigating an asteroid field in the other.

Galencia is a wonderful homage to Galaga that contains numerous game elements to make a very good game in its own right. C64 owners finally have a single screen shooter that we can be proud off. It will be a game that you will return to and enjoy in the many years to come.

Game Credits
Code & Graphics by Jason Aldred
Graphics & Sound Effects by Saul Cross
Music & Sound Effects by Pulsebot

Game Links
Protovision
Itch.Io

Video Link

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